Good morning my friends. A strange though came to me this morning; considering who God is and all the things he has done for us shouldn't he be a bit more demanding of us? It is true that we have to die to our old sin-controlled selves and be raised from that death into real life in Jesus, but what did that really cost us? The vices of this world no longer control us so that we are freed to clearly think and act on our own; not a bad deal from our Creator. He does tell us to join in the work of his mission, but who does not like the thrill of seeing the blind receive his sight and the hopeless find the joy of his hope? I would not trade any of this mission work for any job in the world. It is a privilege to be a partner with Father in his mission. However, there is one thing he does demand in this incredible relationship we have with him; obedience.
We cannot have the relationship that we need with our Father outside of obedience. You probably have experienced that as a parent, if indeed you are a parent and not one of my students reading this because it is required. As a parent we know how disobedience threatens to break our fellowship with our children. We love them still but their disobedience has caused a barrier between us that only gets removed with apologies and forgiveness. In any relationship that is worth its salt, apologies and forgiveness flow freely.
My mom and dad taught me something that relates to this thinking of relationships; it is always better to do things now than to do them later. In any relationship it is better to love now than later; it is better to apologize now then later; it is better to forgive now than later; it is better to obey now than later. It always produces better results to deal with things in the immediate and this is true of obedience in our relationship with Dad. Dad awards an obedient heart. Check out the Scriptures and see if I am right. He thrills at our obedience as his children because it allows him to pour his blessings out on us in great abundance. Consider the result of our big brother's obedience:
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. vs. 8-11
Now that I have your attention with the thought of rewards for obedience allow me to hit you with my real thought for this morning; it is better to worship the King now in freedom and love then to be forced to bow before him later in fear and trembling. As believers I think we forget who it is that we serve, we take him for granted and we do not worship in the awe and respect that he deserves. We treat him as an absentee King whereas he is with us every day, all day. Our Father considers that his obedience alone makes him worthy to exalt above all things, so how much more should we desire to worship considering the benefit that we have received? Yet, we can't even find five minutes to worship him every day. The thing that we should keep in mind is that Dad is going to make sure that Jesus receives the honour due him.
What gets under my skin a bit are people who say "I worship him all day long". Yes, I have tried that too. I would put the worship songs on while cooking, but it does not work. Please hear me on this. That is not worship; that is singing. Worship requires our full attention, when our entire focus is on the King, where nothing else is more important than him. It is where your mind, heart and spirit are filled with nothing other than Jesus. It is where we find healing, comfort, strength, direction, instruction, and many other things because it brings our heart in line with his. Prayer flows easily as adoration pours out. It is the most important moment of our day as we demonstrate our obedience in worship, submitting ourselves to the King of kings and Lord of lords. You can't do that while driving, cooking, feeding the baby, grading papers, or working in the office. There is nothing wrong with listening to worship music and singing along but don't you dare think you have bowed your knee and confessed that Jesus is Lord. Don't fool yourself into thinking you have worshiped. He is worthy of all your attention all the time so the least we can do, the very least, is give him a portion of each day in adoration and praise.
Remember this, it is better to do it now in the freedom of love than to be forced to do it later with the horror of the fear you feel when you realize what you have done. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, but by then it will be too late.